Shari Elessar, Esq., the founder, is a member of both Florida and New York bars, and a former wall street commercial litigator at Cravath for four years. Shari is a former in-house counsel with extensive experience managing, among other things, litigation at multibillion-dollar corporations such as Blyth, Inc., acquired by the Carlyle Group, and Suffolk Construction, with a focus on resolution of difficult issues and litigation. She is also known for her extensive volunteering, mentoring, education and outreach. Shari’s expansive legal, business, educational and volunteer background, has enabled her to work with people of all backgrounds, with the acumen to get to the core of, and resolve, the various challenges which litigants face.
Shari is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediator in County and Circuit Civil court, and a Florida Supreme Court Qualified Arbitrator and completed hundreds of mediations on zoom, with outcomes that demonstrate unequivocally the effectiveness of virtual mediation.
Shari earned her legal degree from the University of Chicago law school, studied overseas for one year at Oxford University and graduated from Cornell University, summa cum laude. Her breadth of legal and business expertise includes business and technology issues, securities, consumer products, personal injury, estate issues, employment, real estate, and construction law.
In 2023, Shari was elected to the leadership track of the Executive Council of the Florida Bar’s ADR section, following the track held by prior Chairs of the ADR Section, beginning as Secretary. Shari is also the Mediation Chair of the Florida Bar ADR standing committee and sponsors the monthly mediator forum for practitioners. Committed to educational outreach, Shari served as a committee member of the Florida Bar ADR’s Mediation Mentoring Academy in 2023 as well as the Arbitration Advocacy Institute in 2020 and 2024.
In 2024, Shari was inducted as a diplomate for the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals, an invitation only professional association whose members are vetted by litigators and distinguished by their hands on experience in the fields of civil and commercial litigation.
After initially working on Wall Street, Shari moved to Florida, and focused on real estate and construction law, including serving as regional General Counsel of Suffolk Construction, a national construction firm, and then jumped to the developer side, practicing as General Counsel, managing the assets and litigation for Palm Beach real estate mogul and developer, Robert L. Miller, whose operations included multiple properties such as Jupiter Pointe Marina, and other marinas statewide, equestrian facilities, shopping malls, and various residential and commercial properties. On both the developer and contractor/construction side, Shari’s continued success in litigation management and dispute resolution resulted in financially meaningful outcomes.
As an entrepreneur, Shari shifted from construction and real estate, into spearheading the growth of ApparelMagic, a B2B cloud software ERP, into national recognition. Shari served as a full equity partner managing the non-coding operational side, such as sales, marketing, finance, legal, PR and human resources, before shifting the bulk of her legal talents to the alternative dispute resolution field.
In addition to helping people try to resolve their differences through mediation and alternative dispute resolution, Shari enjoys lecturing at Palm Beach State college and Nova Law School, judging/coaching with the law school’s moot court and NTA events, including the 2020 National Championship team, the 2021 distinguished semi-finalists, and the 2021 and 2022 Trial Advocacy Summer Institute, working with Judge Rosenberg and the federal courts in their Civil Discourse outreach program with local teens, and volunteering as a guardian ad litem.
Shari served as a Board Member of the prestigious Craig S. Barnard Inns of Court for four years, including both Mentoring and Membership Co-Chair, serving in multiple capacities in prior years, including two years as Education Chair and one as Pupillage Group Leader during which, Shari’s team was awarded the Inns of Court Cup, which recognized her pupillage group for its outreach, ethics and professionalism, and then again as the Legacy Pupillage Group Leader. The National Inns of Court published the award winning CLE on Daubert and Frye, produced by Shari’s team, which placed second in nationals among hundreds of competitor entries. In 2023, she was invited to serve again as Chair of the Mentoring Committee.
Shari appeared as one of the speakers at the DRC’s annual conference in August 4, 2023, teaching two classes, including the Mediator’s Playbook: Negotiation and Strategies for Mediation as well as Steps for Dealing with a Mediation Subpoena, and also taught in 2021. Shari was also a featured panelist at the ACLI Conference on October 28 “The Impact of Covid on The Practice of Law: The Good, Bad and Ugly”. In 2023, Shari was one of the featured panelist speakers at Nova Law Review’s Symposium: Advancing Advocacy, along with Karen Evans, Esq., Speaker, and Professor Fran Tetunic, Esq. as facilitator, and on the distinguished panel of the Lawyer Mediator forum held at Nova in November of 2023.
Shari’s articles on mediation may be found in the Common Ground, the Alternative Dispute Resolution’s bi-annual publication for the Florida Bar. Her column, Tips from the Masters, highlights collective wisdom from the masters, as a mediator’s guide to successful mediation. Her goal as a mediator and arbitrator is to help attorneys and clients alike pursue every opportunity for positive resolution, and ensure that every voice is heard.